Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Incirli Şaraphane, Kydonia & La Mancha: The new "three musketeers" of the Bosphorus Shoreline!

Dear readers,

It is said that one of the most important rules of blogging and to have people keep on coming back to read what you've written is to make sure you steadily keep up with your writing and not have too many gaps in-between posts! Of course, it's also important that you have something to say that's of interest that you can share with others. Unfortunately, I haven't been up to snuff when it comes to rule 1, but be rest assured I have TONS of things to write about, but lack time! My dream and hope is that one day I will have enough money so that I don't have to work and be "independently wealthy" so that I can devote my time to writing (my blogs and maybe a book) and travelling! But, since I don't see something like that happening any time soon (that is having lots of money - I always find some time to travel) and I have to work for a  living - I will have gaps between posts, but I hope I can make it up to you by writing about interesting topics about my experiences in Istanbul, other parts of Turkey,the world and any other subject that I can think of to write about!! 

I will start off by writing about an event I attended last night. So, here goes! That is... after I give a small break now to take out Luka for a walk because he's standing in front of me and licking my hands while I'm typing and saying "mom, it's time for my afternoon walk!!"... and now has started to bark feverishly! Happy reading!!

Several weeks ago I had received a phone call from Aslı Durukan Pasinli (owner of Banyan Restaurant) to let me know that the wine house ++ places she was planning on opening had in fact had a soft opening and asked me to stop by. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take her up on her offer immediately, but then I got an invitation to the opening night cocktail party for Incirli Şaraphane (Wine House in Turkish) which was last night (November 19, 2012)!

Incirli Şaraphane
Conveniently located right off the main street (Muallim Naci Street) in Kuruçeşme along the Bosphorus waterfront and right across the street from the lovely and luxurious Les Ottomans Boutique Hotel (Jennifer Lopez just stayed there when she gave 3 concerts in Istanbul this past week), the reason I wrote "++" above is that the besides the Incirli Şaraphane which is located on the main level of the beautifully restored building, there are also two restaurants: Kydonia and La Mancha (more on them later).

I arrived at around 7:00pm and there were already about 100 people there! Turks are notorious  for arriving at parties before the start  time (in this case 7pm). The spacious wine house with high ceilings includes most (but not all) of the major Turkish wines (yes, only Turkish which is great). I don't want to start mentioning names because that wouldn't be fair as I can't list them all, but use your imagination! The "big" guys and the smaller "boutique" guys all have stands in varying sizes where we had an opportunity to taste a few of the wines they sell (obviously not the more expensive ones!).

There is a very nice area in the back of the wine house where you can sip your wine and have some cheese or you can also sit outside (all year round)

Incirli Şaraphane (interior)

Incirli Şaraphane (outdoor terrace)
Now, here's the best part... you can sip your wine at the wine house, buy by the bottle and take home or select a bottle to have with your dinner at one of the restaurants upstairs... and all the prices are lower than at other restaurants! And... more importantly, you will have a chance to try and taste many Turkish wines that are not sold at restaurants or supermarkets for varying reasons!

Incirli Şaraphane
Incirli Şaraphane doesn't have a website yet, but I'm sure it's in the works, so in the meantime for more info you can call Tel: (0212) 257 11 29.

Now, let me briefly give you info on the "++" places I mentioned above... I haven't eaten at either one yet so I can only comment on the decor and ambiance...

One flight above from Incirli Şaraphane is Kydonia...

Kydonia "meze" selections

I loved the decor, ambiance and spaciousness of Kydonia... not to mention the view! Kydonia is a newcomer to Istanbul, but has been open in Alaçatı, Çeşme (a resort town about 40 minutes from Izmir) for about 3 seasons now (only open during the summer months) at the Port Alaçatı Marina. The restaurant specializes in Aegean/Mediterranean style "meze" (appetizers) and "balık" (seafood). I've eaten at the branch in Alaçatı and loved the meze selections, but didn't get around to eating any fish and I'm sure this branch will be just as good! You can select your 'meze' and 'balık' from the menu or from the display counters....

Kydonia "balık" display
Kydonia does have a website (www.kydonia.com.tr) if you want more info, but it's only available in Turkish and for reservations you can call Tel: (0212) 257 11 31-32

Now, we will visit the top floor or La Mancha! Before I go on, I want to let you know that you don't have to walk from floor to floor ... there's an elevator - how cool and thoughtful is that!

My first impression was WOW when I got off the elevator at La Mancha! The dining room is so warm and inviting with it's decor and soft lighting... and the huge terrace bar (outdoor so you can smoke if so inclined, and I was!) offers a magnificent view of the Bosphorus and Asian shoreline...

La Mancha
La Mancha Terrace Bar

View from La Mancha Terrace BAr

As you must have guessed from the restaurant's name, La Mancha was inspired by the Mediterranean region and the menu includes Spanish, Italian and Moroccan cuisines. The menu was quite large and I didn't get a chance to review it, but I did find out that Spanish deli meats, Italian cheeses and more are also on the menu as you can see by the display counter!

La Mancha "Deli and Cheese" counter display
La Mancha has a website, but once again it's only in Turkish: www.lamancha.com.tr For reservations, you can call Tel: (0212) 257 11 44-45.

After my tour of the entire place to take pictures, I headed back downstairs to Incirli Şaraphane where I tested a couple of more wines and then headed back upstairs to La Mancha's terrace bar to wait for my sister to arrive and where we hung out for the rest of the evening... and let me tell you, it was packed! There wasn't an empty table at La Mancha and by the looks of it, everyone was enjoying their meal. The bar was also full, but we were lucky and sat on the bar stools instead of standing.

Since I didn't go into a "wine tasting" frenzy, I was still standing when my sister and I left.
I had a lovely evening last night and I fell in love with the new "three musketeers" of the Bosphorus shoreline in Kuruçeşme and can't wait to go back and try the food! Aslı said she would invite me for a "special tasting" (am I a lucky dog or what!)

While you're reading this post, I'm going to start on my next one... once again a "foodie" article, but this time I ate!

"me" at entrance to Incirli Şaraphane
Stay well!


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